The UK India Business Council has opened its first Business Centre in Delhi which will focus on reducing the risks and costs of market entry for British SMEs in India.
UK and Indian ministers as well as leading businessmen attended the opening ceremony for the Business Centre yesterday.
The Business hub has been launched by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) with the backing of UK government and assistance from UK Trade and Investment as well as British Business Groups.
The Delhi Business Centre is the first of a planned international network of support hubs for internationalising British businesses.
Prime Minister David Cameron first announced government’s plans to establish this network, across 20 emerging and rapid growth economies, in November 2012.
At the opening of the first centre, UK Trade and Investment minister, Lord Green said that the establishment of the Business Centre network was an initiative “close to his heart”.
He explained: “The centre will help UK small and medium sized businesses work closer with more established British businesses in India and provide them with the support needed to capitalise on the huge potential of the Indian market.”
The next UKIBC-led Business Centre in India will open within six months according to Richard Heald, head of the UKIBC.
As well as offering general advice for doing business in India, the second business centre will be anchored to the Advance Manufacturing and Engineering industry according to Mr Heald.
“It will target ways of bringing innovation and hi-tech aspects of UK industry and developing them in an Indian context in order to commercialise them,” explained Mr Heald who admitted that the skills base in India is currently ill-equipped to support the aspirations of advanced manufacturing firms looking to exploit it – both for domestic market opportunities and as a gateway to other emerging markets such as those in Africa.
The advanced manufacturing and engineering focused business centre will help make India a more capable market for UK manufacturing firms to function in summed up Heald who also revealed that the UK India Business Council and ADS are discussing ways in which the SC21 initiative for supply chain excellence could be taken to India in order to improve the quality and reliability of local manufacturing supply chains.
Over 100 guests, including leading UK and Indian businessmen from Rolls Royce and BAE attended the launch of the first centre yesterday.
As well as offering advice to British firms operating in India the centre will provide office space, meeting facilities and event facilities for the use of Britsh firms. It will also host a Launchpad® service, a UKTI-led initiative to help more UK companies internationalise and export goods and services.
The United Kingdom is the third largest investor in India with a total FDI inflow of US $17.6 billion, equalling 9% of the total FDI inflow, between April 2000 and June 2013.
In 2012, the bilateral trade between the UK and India was £15.4billion.